PLANS to demolish a Haywards Heath office block and replace it with offices and flats have been given the nod by Mid Sussex District Council.

The outline application, for Central House, in Perrymount Road, was approved by the planning committee on Thursday (October 15).

It will include up to 38 flats, 11 of which would be affordable, a new entrance road, undercroft car parking and office space.

Despite allowing the plans to go through, members had a number of questions and concerns.

Clive Laband (Con, Haywards Heath – Heath) said it was a pity more had not been done to work with the neighbouring site – which also has planning permission – and come up with a single entrance which would be ‘aesthetically more pleasing and far safer’.

As for the application itself, Mr Laband said it had ’emerged out of the blue’.

While not an unwelcome surprise, he shared the view of Haywards Heath Town Council that the lack of engagement from the applicant had been ‘quite noticeable by its absence’.

The proposed layout of the site prompted questions about whether delivery drivers, refuse lorries and, more importantly, emergency service vehicles, would be able to get to the flats.

As this was an outline application, the committee was essentially deciding whether the development would work in principle.

All other issues such as the layout and ensuring emergency vehicles could access the site would be worked out later.